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Basic Research-on-Learning Articles for College Faculty

  • Interactive-engagement vs. traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. Hake, 1998 The complete report from Richard Hake's long-term study of interactive engagement (IE) techniques and their effect on the understanding of physics by non-physics majors. (citation and description)
  • Applying the science of learning to the university and beyond: teaching for long-term retention and transfer. Halpern and Hakel, 2003 This review article summarizes research on learning and its application in college classrooms. For example, deeper coverage of fewer topics is better than a shallow survey. (citation and description)
  • Active learning: Cooperation in the college classroom. Johnson et al., 1991 This book contains lots of interesting material about the effects of having students work in groups, mostly in the form of increased motivation and performance in college classes. (citation and description)
  • A desire to be taught: Instructional consequences of intrinsic motivation. Lepper and Cordova, 1992 This research review on using games to teach concludes that kids learn better if learning is essential to winning the game, there is some sort of storyline, and there is no extrinsic, immediate award. (citation and description)
  • Creating lifelong science learners: What models form a firm foundation?. Linn and Muilenberg, 1996 Students taught a simple, but inaccurate model of thermodynamics understood how heat worked, especially in terms of applications, better than students taught the correct but non-intuitive model. (citation and description)
  • How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. National Academy of Science, 1999 A summary of educational research indicating general ways in which we can improve our teaching from kindergarten through university. (citation and description)
  • Cognition in Scientific and Everyday Domains: Comparison and Learning Implications. Reif and Larkin, 1991 Science and everyday life employ different knowledge domains with different priorities and practices. Students often apply everyday knowledge practices to scientific knowledge, and they don’t work. (citation and description)
  • A Private Universe. Schneps and Sadler, 1988 When asked what causes seasons, Harvard seniors consistently gave wrong answers. Schoolchildren taught the right answers may try to blend their old and new ideas or revert to the old ideas entirely. (citation and description)
  • Taking Learning Seriously. Shulman, 1999 Any new learning must connect with what learners already know. Students manifest amnesia, fantasia, or inertia with respect to poorly learned material, generally after the exam. (citation and description)
  • How Do Students' Views of Science Influence Knowledge Integration?. Songer and Linn, 1991 Students tending towards a static view of science tend to memorize scientific information and organize it poorly. Students with dynamic views organize their scientific knowledge around principles. (citation and description)
  • The lecture as a learning device. Wenzel, 1999 This review of learning literature indicates that students cannot absorb all of the material presented to them in lecture, especially in long lectures. Interactive engagement helps student learning. (citation and description)
  • Cooperative Student Activities as Learning Devices. Wenzel, 2000 Students who work in cooperative groups with other students are more motivated and successful, especially with regard to reasoning and critical thinking skills than those that do not. (citation and description)